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Joint & additional secretaries of ministries give 40 suggestions in interaction with PM Modi

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NEW DELHI: A centralised revenue authority, e-health card for diagnostic tests, converting Kisan credit card into a regular one, and putting in place a core banking type treasury system in states are among 40 suggestions that joint secretaries and additional secretaries of various ministries have made to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The prime minister has given his own views on some issues raised, which would be incorporated in the action plan being developed on the basis of the interactions, officials said. “Concerned ministries and departments can examine these suggestions to see how they can be taken forward,” said a government official.

A centralised revenue authority to administratively handle all revenue sources can facilitate cross-sharing of information so as to help avoid tax evasion and improve compliance, officials said.

Setting up such an authority on the lines of Mauritius has become more feasible with the launch of goods and services tax (GST), it was pointed out at the interaction between the PM and bureaucrats.

Cabinet secretary PK Sinha has written to all ministries departments to consider the measures that seek to improve governance and delivery of government departments.

NITI Aayog is coordinating the entire process and will also follow up on the suggestions, officials said.

Boost to electronic manufacturing, doing away with L1 system of procurement in cases where quality also needs to be considered, integrated legal division to reduce government as litigant, and reforms in urban building permission are some of the other ideas put forward.

Modi himself mooted an idea of ‘Sweet revolution’ to promote beekeeping in a big way, tree plantation on land boundaries, focus on 100 lowest faring districts in a mission mode, using India’s electronics prowess for health equipment and devices and annual validation of all circulars and guidelines to simplify rules.

Joint & additional secretaries of ministries give 40 suggestions in interaction with PM Modi

Top bureaucrats also felt converting Kisan credit card into a regular one would encourage digital transactions among a huge section of population across the country.

Another suggestion was to involve heads of missions abroad to attract investments for critical projects.

Modi has been holding brainstorming sessions with government officials to identify steps to improve governance and delivery. His idea is that exchange of ideas can lead to better decision making with people in focus. A host of suggestions concern improving administrative process in the government to boost efficiency.

These, along with Modi’s observations, are being taken forward by the respective departments. Electronic health cards have been suggested to make diagnosis cheaper and easier.

Officers have also told the PM that they often do not take decisions for fear of failure and one way to avoid that is to also talk about attempts and failures and not just successes. The department of financial services will make a concept note on states moving to core banking after officers said treasuries are ‘den of corruption’ in many states.

Modi said speed of decision making is important and routine measures like making minutes of the meeting should not take more than 48 hours. He also called for special urgency in case of cabinet notes and inter-ministerial consultations to minimise delays.

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